Car Shipping To South Africa

Car shipping to South Africa: Enjoy trouble-free shipping with AFL


Shipping to South Africa doesn’t need to be complicated or a costly process for you because AFL has your back. We’ll release you from the burden of having to take care of the customs clearance and documentation process. We’ve got you covered. AFL offers you the best method for your car shipping to South Africa at an affordable rate. In addition, our team will collect your vehicle from your residence, saving you from any unnecessary shipment and customs delays.

Introduction to South Africa

South Africa is situated in the southern corner of Africa and has an abundance of rolling grassy plains, mountains peaks, and Saharan deserts. The country is well-established and has a developed economy and infrastructure. It is also the largest exporter of natural resources such as gold and platinum. 

The USA is South Africa’s 39th most significant trading partner and exports a large number of vehicles and their components. Furthermore, South Africa has its clothing, motor vehicles, machinery, and plastics industry, restricting the import of used goods and cars. 

The country has a policy such as the Automotive Production Development Program initiative, which balances out the import of vehicles and auto parts with the local automotive industry. Also, many US auto suppliers represent their country in South Africa, where they have built substantial operations between South Africa and other international countries. 

Popular ports for car shipping to South Africa

Popular Shipping Ports

Port Cape Town

Before shipping your car to an unfamiliar country, it is always vital to search about its shipping route and which ports can handle your shipment. Because if you are shipping through a RoRo ship, some ports might not support it while others might handle your shipment but might be small or costly for you. 

So, if you are shipping your car to South Africa, taking the help of a reliable shipping company is preferable. Such a company will guide you on which ports can be best for the delivery of your shipment. The port of Durban is the largest one in South Africa handling up to 13.4 million tonnes of cargo per year. Moreover, this seaport generates 60% of the total trade revenue of the country.

Other than Durban, some other major seaports of South Africa are also famous for trade and handling cargo. They include:

  • Cape Town, 
  • Johannesburg, 
  • Durban,
  • Soweto 
  • Pietermaritzburg,
  • Tembisa,
  • Pretoria,
  • Benoni,
  • East London,
  • Port Elizabeth.

Methods of car shipping to South Africa

Method of Car Shipping to South Africa

When it comes to choosing the best method for car shipping to Africa, many factors are in play, such as the availability of the shipping method, your preferences, and the size and weight of your shipment. 

However, before shipping any kind of car to South Africa, it would be wise to take your vehicle for a run to the mechanic. You must make sure that the brakes work alright and the tires are also in good shape before shipping it because a non-functional car will leave you with far fewer shipping options to choose from. Additionally, make sure that your vehicle’s gas tank is only 1/4th filled before shipping it to South Africa.

When your car is ready for shipment, you can contact a shipping company to transport it to South Africa. Usually, companies offer two of the most common but popular shipping methods to ship your vehicles or goods overseas. 

RoRo shipping

If you want a fast delivery that is also cost-effective, then RoRo is a perfect choice. However, your vehicle must be functional to use this method. RoRo shipping involves driving your vehicle to the ship’s deck, where it is tied securely and then driven off at the destination port. You can send as many cars and operable machinery as you want with this shipping method, as you would only be paying for the space they will occupy in the ship. 

Moreover, you can also place goods in the car to ship them alongside it. However, do take care not to send anything that is banned or restricted in South Africa. Otherwise, you might end up with a penalty.

Container shipping

Container shipping could also be a good choice if you are shipping a vintage or sports car alongside your personal belongings. It will provide an extra layer of security for your goods and vehicle. Shipping companies offer two varieties of 20ft and 40ft containers; usually, you can choose one according to the size of your cargo.

Container shipping is further divided into two types. You can choose one according to your convenience and requirements.

FCL or Private Container shipping

If you want a personal space for your exotic car, you may choose this shipping method. Although it may provide extra security and is speedy, it is an expensive shipping method. You would be paying the rent of the whole container.

LCL or Shared Container shipping

If you are tight on budget and wish to split the shipping costs, then shared container shipping might be a good choice for shipping your car to Africa. You can also send other household items or belongings alongside your vehicle. 

However, you would have to share the space with other people’s belongings. But if you wish for speedy delivery, this method may not work for you as the container needs to be filled before it will embark on its journey towards the destination country.

What is the car shipping price from the USA to South Africa?

Shipping costs depend upon many factors, from customs duty, vehicles’ size and weight to shipping routes. However, for a medium-sized car, the average shipping cost would start from $3,300 and can surge up to $7,000 for SUVs and larger vehicles. The customs charges are also subject to change in South Africa.

Duty & Customs, South Africa

The countries with which South Africa has trade agreements are applicable for preferential trade rates, and import from them in the country may incur no or fewer charges. South Africa has a complex tariff rate, imposing nearly forty different rates. 

However, an average duty rate is 34% on imported vehicles and 20% on auto parts and other goods. The value of imported goods is calculated based on f.o.b. (free on board) price. It covers all the costs leading from when the shipment was placed on board for export to unloading, customs clearance, and domestic transport. A value-added tax of 15% is also applicable on all imports in South Africa.

Shipping requirements for South Africa

While shipping your vehicle and goods to South Africa, if you missed any documents or shipped any restricted or banned item alongside your car, it might incur a penalty, or in worst cases, it may send you behind bars. 

So, it is always wise to be familiar with the current changes in a country’s customs laws. You can take guidance on the current laws from your shipping company. Or you can contact the South African Embassy in the USA if you feel confused about shipping a specific item not mentioned in the prohibitions or restrictions list.

Here we have mentioned some of the regulatory standards associated with importing in South Africa:

Prohibitions and restrictions to shipping to South Africa

Import of used vehicles is not allowed in the country. It is permitted only when an individual has a second-hand vehicle permit obtained from the relevant South African Authority. However, the permit is usually for classic cars older than 25 years. 

Other restrictions on goods include gold coins, raw minerals, firearms, animals, and products made from their skin, dairy products, honey, and plants. Importing medicine or herbal products may require a prescription letter from a certified physician and a permit from the Department of Health.

Prohibitions on import in South Africa include narcotics, counterfeit & pirated goods, cigarettes with more than 2kg mass per 1000, prison-made goods, explosives, and toxic substances. 

Documents required for car shipping to South Africa

When shipping a car to South Africa, your documents must be appropriately filled, precise, and verified so that you won’t face problems while clearing the customs process of your vehicle and goods. The most common documents needs for shipment to South Africa include:

  • Title of Ownership for more than one year with no liens,
  • Original bill of sale, 
  • Vehicle’s registration,
  • Bill of Lading,
  • Customs clearance declaration (SAD500),
  • Import permit,
  • Passport,
  • Letter of authority from SABS (South African Bureau of Standards).

How to find the right company to ship your car to South Africa?

International Car Shipping Company

South Africa has one of the most complicated, confusing, and strict customs laws due to the government’s decision to focus on locally-based products. Import of used vehicles and many goods are banned in the country or need a special permit from relevant authorities. This whole process can be exhausting for a person. 

But with AFL’s assistance, car shipping to South Africa need not be complicated. We can handle all your paperwork and customs clearance ourselves, relieving you of all of the burdens. AFL will offer you an affordable shipping rate according to your requirements, without hidden costs or upfront charges.

Some of the shipping services that we can provide are:

Customs clearance

AFL’s agents in South Africa will help you clear the customs process without any delay. Our company will also assist you in preparing for the necessary paperwork needs. We will guide you on the documentation process, verify your paperwork, and advise you if there are changes required to get it approved instantly at customs.

Door-to-port shipping

We understand that you may have other commitments, so our logistics service is ever ready to serve you. We can collect our vehicle from any location in the USA and deliver it to the port for shipment. With AFL’s experience and knowledge, you won’t have to stress about any unnecessary delay in shipment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time will it take to ship my car from the USA to South Africa?

Shipping time depends upon the route length, shipping method, documentation process, and customs delays. However, with a professional and knowledgeable company, it will only take an average of 2-4 weeks. 

Can I ship heavy machinery alongside my car to South Africa?

Yes, you can, but the size and weight of your cargo and the functionality of machinery can affect the shipping method as well as shipping costs.

Is the cost of car shipping to South Africa also subject to change?

Many factors can affect the final shipping cost, such as overseas shipping method, the distance between ports, peak season, the size and weight of the vehicle, marine insurance, and additional charges such as door-to-port service.


Car shipping to Africa from the USA can be costly if one doesn’t know enough about the country’s customs clearance and documentation process. There are so many factors that can also increase the shipping cost, and they must also be taken heed of.  

South Africa also has one of the most confusing and complicated lists of restricted items. Moreover, you need permits for almost every product you wish to send alongside your car. The country’s economy is thriving as they usually produce everything locally. To encourage local manufacturing, they’ve banned the import of several things such as used vehicles whose import is not restricted in other countries worldwide. 

All these complexities can pile up to become an inconvenience for you when you are trying to take care of the shipping process yourself. So, that is why it is advisable to take assistance from an experienced and trustworthy US-based shipping company.


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